10 Ways to Go Wild with a Trip to a Michigan Zoo

Michigan boasts an assortment of zoos and wildlife parks that are both educational and fun for all ages. So, grab some sunscreen and bottled water and get ready for a wild day of fun at these Michigan zoos and parks!

A red panda laying on a branch
Binder Park Zoo | Photo Courtesy of Instagram Fan celanopics

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1. Detroit Zoo - Royal Oak

Featuring 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits with more than 2,500 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates of 280 different species, The Detroit Zoo is a spectacular place to visit. Be sure to take a trek through the North Pole in the Arctic Ring of Life exhibit, one of North America's largest polar bear habitats and home to arctic foxes and seals. You also won't want to miss the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Did you know the Detroit Zoo was the first in the United States to use open natural exhibits?

2. Potter Park Zoo - Lansing

Located along the Red Cedar River, the Potter Park Zoo is a 58-acre zoo located in the capital city of Lansing, Michigan within Lansing's Potter Park. With over 500 animal residents representing approximately 160 different species, there is always something new and exciting to see. From special events to programs for children and adults, the zoo offers family fun and enrichment. Come explore the zoo and help to celebrate, study and protect the diversity of animals and their habitats.

3. Binder Park Zoo - Battle Creek

An adventure awaits you at Binder Park Zoo! Discover spectacular views of wild animals from elevated boardwalks. Get nose-to-nose with one of the largest giraffe herds in the country as you explore Wild Africa and hand feed a giraffe! Binder Park is open from mid-April through October each year.

4. Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park - Alto

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park features a reptile house, aviary, petting zoo and guided safari tour through the park and prides itself on giving visitors a hands-on experience that's as close to the wild as you can get. With animals as diverse as wallabies, zebras, pythons and lemurs, there is sure to be something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Come fall, head to the zoo for the annual ZooBoo to celebrate halloween with pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, animal presentations and even a haunted hayride. 

5. John Ball Zoo  - Grand Rapids

John Ball Zoo, with over 2,000 animals, is located in a park only one mile from the downtown Grand Rapids district. An impressive animal collection features lions, tigers and bears along with a troop of chimpanzees, penguins, lemurs, reptiles, and more. The zoo offers a four story, 600-foot zipline ride and a 4-story ropes course to keep the teens and tweens interested!

6. Wilderness Trails Zoo - Birch Run

Wilderness Trails Zoo offers a unique zoo experience as the mile long trail winds past trees, ponds and over 50 species of exotic and native animals.  Exhibits are constructed so guests may see the animals much closer than at a typical zoo, while maintaining as much of Michigan's natural beauty as possible.

7. Saginaw Children’s Zoo - Saginaw

This regional destination that envisions to inspire all ages to appreciate and respect animals and nature through engaging experiences, education, and conservation. The Zoo is situated on 10 acres of landscaped paths featuring beautiful gardens, animal exhibits, and the region’s only hand-carved carousel.

8. Roscommon Zoo - Roscommon

Roscommon Zoo is a family owned and operated zoo/petting zoo located in Crawford County, just minutes from downtown Roscommon. ​The scenic 20 acres is home to various native and non-native exotic animals as well as domestic farm animals. Many of the animals have been highly socialized, making for unique interactive experiences between you, the visitor, and some amazing creatures. 


9. GarLyn Zoo - Naubinway

Located 40 minutes west of the Mackinac Bridge on US-2, just six miles east of Naubinway is the GarLyn Zoo. See live tigers, black bear, alligator, cougar, bobcat, wolves, wallaby, camel, reindeer, ring-tailed lemur, sika deer, river otter and more. Feed the deer, goats, llama and even the bear!

10. DeYoung Family Zoo - Wallace

The DeYoung Family Zoo is nestled in the wilderness of the beautiful Upper Peninsula. This is NOT a big city zoo, step out of the box, away from the concrete jungle and come along on a new journey. You will love the natural setting filled with amazing animals from around the world. Large natural habitats, education through hands-on experiences, as well as up close and personal family fun.